In almost three decades of rule, Robert Mugabe's evolution from liberator to tyrant led Zimbabwe from democratic independence and its status as South Africa's breadbasket to a one-party state with an inflation rate over 231 million percent. Mugabe met early electoral wins by the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in March of 2008 by launching a nationwide "re-education" campaign, killing and torturing MDC members and supporters in order to win the run-off election.
Despite U.N. intervention led by Britain and the U.S. to reach a power sharing agreement, Mugabe was sworn in for his sixth term in office and the two sides remain deadlocked over the distribution of ministries. Meanwhile, the populace suffers food shortages, massive unemployment and most recently, a cholera outbreak in the capital city of Harare. The stories of the violence and desperation struggle to make it out of the country. Journalism in Zimbabwe has become "punishable by death," and while the government bans foreign broadcasting stations, journalists within the country are routinely threatened, detained, charged with inciting hatred against Mugabe and are often beaten or killed.
Despite this climate of fear and intimidation, independent Zimbabwean journalists are still reporting, often secretly. The reporting here is one such brave journalist's work.